Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center : West Harrison

Healthcare Winner

Project: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: West Harrison | Harrison NY

Firms: MSK | Ewing Cole | New York NY

Design Statement

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center [MSK] is ranked #1 in cancer care in the U.S. Based in New York City; MSK reaches beyond Manhattan to bring state-of-the-art cancer care to areas in Long Island, New Jersey and Westchester. The new MSK West Harrison outpatient care center was conceived as a way to decrease the burden of travel, allowing patients to spend less time commuting and more time in the comfort of their own homes, which is important in the healing process. This center personifies the OneMSK philosophy…providing care identical to the care they would receive if treated at the main Manhattan campus. Its gleaming exterior is just the beginning. The 114,000 sq. ft. structure is a modern, intuitive space designed to maximize patient comfort and reduce anxiety. No detail was overlooked in crafting a transformational patient experience. In terms of design, material selections convey optimism, strength, understanding and hope. The soft, muted color palette creates a calm, serene environment that helps patients relax, instilling focus. The patient-centered design brings together technology, operational and physical aspects to create an enhanced patient experience. Real Time Location System tags are given to patients at check-in and use real-time GPS tracking to pinpoint the patient’s location, whether in the iPad/Tech Bar, at the communal table or even in the healing garden. This allows people to move freely around the campus and gives the patient another level of comfort, knowing they don’t have to be tethered to a waiting room seat. Seating areas designed in zones like the Salon, Library, Café and Tech Bar, provide options for patients, depending on what they want to do or how they feel such as plug in + recharge, isolate, nest, gather, nourish, connect with nature, etc. Patients have responded positively to the variety of spaces, welcoming distractions, seating and tranquil surroundings. Integration of natural light into public, clinical and staff areas creates a connection to nature. Private chemotherapy suites are flooded with natural light which create warm, inviting enclaves. Maintaining dignity, privacy and control reduces patient anxiety and stress in these areas. In the chemo suites, patients control their individual room temperature and lighting, and have personal entertainment devices they can use to Skype with friends during treatment, order food from local restaurants or watch educational videos on health+wellness. MSK West Harrison embodies the OneMSK vision to redefine the patient experience, creating a new paradigm in patient care.

Cancer patients have unique needs, both physically and emotionally. The design vision for this project was to create a tranquil space [simple, clean and free of visual clutter] that nurtures the patient inside and out. Soft, restrained color, subtle patterning and refined texture support the need for flooring that prevents trip hazards as well as avoiding design elements that might cause dizziness. Seating areas are defined using carpet insets to create zones like the Salon, Library, patient lounges, etc. The carpet not only provides visual cueing, but enhances acoustics within these spaces. Often, patients and visitors dealing with difficult medical issues have the need to “cocoon”, retreating into themselves. The dampened sound and soft surface of the carpeted islands’ intuitively suggests they find refuge there. The neutral color product lines allowed the opportunity to mix and match patterns and create a family of coordinating carpets throughout the varied public and staff spaces. Due to financial constraints, healthcare facilities are generally unable to refresh finishes as often as they’d like, especially in the current U.S. healthcare climate. Carpet tile is a great solution in an outpatient setting like this one, providing easy spot replacement, as needed.

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